The 10 Worst Seattle Suburbs For 2022

We used science and data to determine which Seattle suburbs are the real pits.

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Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Seattle.

So the question arises, do the suburbs maintain a semblance of the larger-than-life appeal of their more famous neighbor?

Today, we'll use science and data to determine which Seattle 'burbs need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Seattle area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the suburbs to live up to Seattle proper, although Mercer Island certainly tries.

Of course, not all suburbs of Seattle are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones..

We examined the 54 biggest suburbs of Seattle to find out the worst places to live. And while you won't necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Washington lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Seattle in terms of quality of life.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Seattle for 2022:

  1. Tukwila
  2. Bremerton
  3. SeaTac
  4. Algona
  5. Everett
  6. Sumner
  7. Port Orchard
  8. Kent
  9. Auburn
  10. Fife

What's the worst suburb of Seattle? Tukwila ranks as the worst suburb of Seattle for 2022 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

Read on to see how we determined the places around Seattle that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don't blame the messenger.

Or, if you're thinking of moving to elsewhere in Washington check out the best places in Washington overall or the worst.

And remember, there are some good places to live around Seattle too.

Editor's Note: If you see a slight difference between the worst in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it's because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.

For more Washington reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Seattle Suburbs To Live For 2022

We'll get the ball rolling with Tukwila, the absolute worst place to live around Seattle according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Tukwila beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 3rd worst in the Seattle area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 5th worst when it comes to home values.

But hey, at least it's cheap to live there. But there's a reason for that... it's Tukwila.

You won't feel bad about not having a great income for the area, there aren't a bunch of places to spend your money anyway.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 20,265
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $63,053 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.5% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $314,200 (5th lowest)
More on Tukwila:  Data | Photos

Tukwila, WA

Welcome to Bremerton. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.

This city is 17.9 miles to Seattle. Income levels here are the lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $57,963 a year, which doesn't go a long ways even on a shoestring budget.

But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 41,258
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $57,963 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $270,100 (lowest)
More on Bremerton:  Data | Photos

Bremerton, WA

Source: Public domain

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Seattle suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see SeaTac on here. While the cost of living is low, your entertainment and work options are limited. And that's an understatement.

In terms of numbers, it's in the worst 15% for insurance, and the adult high school drop out rate is poor compared to other Seattle suburbs.

But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 29,102
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $66,131 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $338,000 (7th lowest)
More on Seatac:  Data | Photos

Seatac, WA

If you live in Algona, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 15th lowest Seattle suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Seattle. Remember, we looked at 54 cities for this study.

Algona is about 23.8 miles to downtown.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,207
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Income: $73,611 (15th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.8% (highest)
Median Home Value: $270,400 (2nd lowest)
More on Algona:  Data | Photos

Algona, WA

Everett has the distinction of being a Seattle suburb. Which means that's about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, Everett has the 13th lowest home values in the metro Seattle area, where the median price is $359,900. To put that into perspective, in Mercer Island, the median income is $250,001, which is the best in the area.

Everett has an unemployment rate of 4.94% which ranks 13th worst.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 110,840
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Median Income: $66,023 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.9% (13th highest)
Median Home Value: $359,900 (13th lowest)
More on Everett:  Data | Photos

Everett, WA

Sumner has 10,246 residents that probably know it's a pretty crummy place to live when you look at the data. (Or, if you've ever been there, you don't need to look at the data.)

Incomes are towards the bottom and the poverty rate sits at 10.651703091159677%.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,246
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Income: $68,447 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.1% (11th highest)
Median Home Value: $347,500 (9th lowest)
More on Sumner:  Data | Photos

Sumner, WA

Ah, Port Orchard. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Seattle.

It's the place with the 18th most out of work residents in the Seattle metro area (4.77%).

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,303
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Median Income: $71,719 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (18th highest)
Median Home Value: $357,500 (11th lowest)
More on Port Orchard:  Data | Photos

Port Orchard, WA

Kent is a city about 17.3 miles from Seattle, but Seattle probably wishes it was further away. It ranks as the 8th worst burb for 2018.

You'd be hard pressed to find a worse place to live. Kent has the 10th most uninsured people, 16th worst incomes, and has the 4th highest unemployment rate (6.77%) in the entire Seattle metro area.

Homes only cost $378,800 for a reason. That's cheap for Seattle standards.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 130,038
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Median Income: $73,891 (16th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $378,800 (15th lowest)
More on Kent:  Data | Photos

Kent, WA

Source: Public domain

If you absolutely have to live near Seattle, then Auburn might be a place for you to consider as it's only the 9th worst Seattle suburb.

About 4.53% of residents are out of work.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 80,914
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Median Income: $76,410 (18th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (2highest)
Median Home Value: $356,200 (10th lowest)
More on Auburn:  Data | Photos

Auburn, WA

Rounding out the ten worst Seattle suburbs to call home is Fife.

Located 26.8 miles outside the city, Fifes is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 3highest unemployment rate (3.8%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,345
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 6)
Median Income: $75,151 (17th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.8% (3highest)
Median Home Value: $325,500 (6th lowest)
More on Fife:  Data | Photos

Fife, WA

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Seattle for 2022

To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2016-2020, this is the criteria we used:

  • High unemployment rate
  • Low median household incomes
  • Low population density (no things to do)
  • Low home values
  • A lot of high school drop outs
  • High poverty
  • High rate of uninsured families

FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Seattle.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 54 suburbs to evaluate around Seattle.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 54 in each category, where 1 was the "worst".

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.

And finally, we crowned the city with the worst quality of life index the "Worst Suburb near Seattle." We're lookin' at you, Tukwila. You can download the data here.

Read on below to learn more about what it's like to live in the worst of the worst. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from worst to best.

Summary: The areas around Seattle where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2022

Well there you have it -- the worst of the 'burbs surrounding Seattle with Tukwila casting itself ahead of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Seattle aren't all bad. Mercer Island takes the cake as the best place to live around Seattle.

  • Mercer Island
  • Medina
  • Sammamish

For more Washington reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Seattle Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Tukwila 20,265 $63,053 $314,200
2 Bremerton 41,258 $57,963 $270,100
3 Seatac 29,102 $66,131 $338,000
4 Algona 3,207 $73,611 $270,400
5 Everett 110,840 $66,023 $359,900
6 Sumner 10,246 $68,447 $347,500
7 Port Orchard 14,303 $71,719 $357,500
8 Kent 130,038 $73,891 $378,800
9 Auburn 80,914 $76,410 $356,200
10 Fife 10,345 $75,151 $325,500
11 Tacoma 215,766 $64,457 $311,700
12 Burien 51,588 $71,233 $419,500
13 Des Moines 31,983 $70,268 $379,300
14 Federal Way 96,812 $68,672 $359,000
15 Snohomish 10,141 $70,234 $392,000
16 Milton 8,211 $77,064 $340,600
17 Lynnwood 38,538 $62,926 $443,100
18 Pacific 7,122 $65,022 $305,200
19 North Bend 7,161 $119,392 $628,100
20 Poulsbo 10,869 $72,813 $389,300
21 Monroe 19,403 $88,683 $395,500
22 Lake Stevens 33,470 $93,087 $384,400
23 Renton 101,871 $79,824 $442,600
24 Fircrest 6,844 $82,578 $375,600
25 University Place 33,661 $77,832 $387,800
26 Covington 21,131 $106,737 $386,900
27 Mountlake Terrace 21,328 $80,738 $424,700
28 Carnation 2,165 $112,647 $528,900
29 Bothell 46,386 $107,651 $587,900
30 Shoreline 56,835 $91,524 $582,000
31 Edgewood 12,010 $103,193 $430,600
32 Gig Harbor 10,280 $84,861 $509,800
33 Black Diamond 4,703 $111,250 $464,300
34 Issaquah 38,707 $122,053 $677,500
35 Edmonds 42,347 $91,499 $587,200
36 Mukilteo 21,414 $102,903 $624,900
37 Normandy Park 6,643 $102,212 $685,800
38 Maple Valley 26,739 $117,706 $451,900
39 Woodinville 13,038 $114,967 $685,500
40 Kirkland 91,146 $116,595 $724,700
41 Kenmore 22,969 $115,093 $617,000
42 Brier 6,899 $124,651 $619,600
43 Mill Creek 20,750 $104,951 $584,400
44 Redmond 67,959 $132,770 $788,500
45 Bellevue 146,145 $129,497 $887,700
46 Bainbridge Island 24,859 $125,861 $783,600
47 Clyde Hill 3,360 $250,001 $2,000,001
48 Lake Forest Park 13,455 $138,043 $676,400
49 Duvall 7,979 $162,622 $543,200
50 Newcastle 12,078 $155,933 $780,100
51 Snoqualmie 13,550 $159,450 $640,700
52 Sammamish 65,265 $181,464 $878,000
53 Medina 3,283 $185,163 $2,000,001
54 Mercer Island 25,820 $150,506 $1,386,300

How Is Your Town In ?

Editor's Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don't freak out we updated this article for 2022. This is our ninth time ranking the worst suburbs around Seattle.

About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.